European Union External Action

Support for Human Rights Defenders detained in Turkey

Bruxelles, 09/10/2017 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 171011_17
Petition responses

Brussels, 09 October 2017

Dear Petitioner,
I would like to thank you for expressing your concern in regards to the recent detention, and later arrest, of Amnesty International Turkey Director Idil Eser, together with nine other human rights defenders during a training on Büyükada Island. 
These detentions have stirred prompt reactions on the EU side. The EU calls on the Turkish authorities to release the human rights defenders immediately and to respect the European Convention on Human Rights and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. We have underlined the importance of the Turkish judiciary fully respecting the presumption of innocence, acknowledging that civil society is a key pillar of democracy. Fundamental freedoms must be fully respected and human rights defenders should be able to fulfil their legitimate activities.
The situation of human rights and of human rights defenders in Turkey is followed closely by the EEAS, the Commission, and in particular by the EU Delegation in Ankara, working closely with all EU Member States. The EU is increasingly concerned about the imprisonment of a large number of journalists, academics, and human rights defenders. Therefore, we call on Turkey to address the serious shortcomings in the areas of rule of law, human rights, and fundamental freedoms. 
These larger concerns are continuously and consistently raised in our dialogue with the Turkish authorities. The cases of the ten human rights defenders from Büyükada Island, as well as Amnesty International Turkey's Chair Taner Kılıҫ, have been raised several times by Commissioner Hahn and me, including at the High Level Political Dialogue with Turkey on 25 July.  
We will keep monitoring the situation in close cooperation with the Council of Europe, whose bodies have raised similar concerns and have issued a number of recommendations which we hope that Turkey will take on, in order to bring the post-coup measures in line with European standards.
Yours sincerely,